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Dopper: Symphony No 2, Paan 1 & 2 / Bamert, Hague Residentie

Release Date: 03/27/2001 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 9884   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Cornelis Dopper
Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Dutch are way too hard on themselves. So far, Chandos has released three discs (including this one) in its ongoing Dutch composers series featuring the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, and all three have been excellent (you can find reviews of the first two discs, music by Hol and Voormolen, by entering Q1409 and Q1545 in the ClassicsToday.com search box under album/work title). And yet, the writer of the booklet notes treats this music as if listening to it were some kind of penance. He should take a lesson from his English colleagues, who indiscriminately promote any piece of native trash as God's gift to the world of music. Well, maybe he needn't go quite that far.

Cornelius Dopper's reputation today rests on
Read more his being second conductor (under Mengelberg) of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the early decades of the last century. He deserves better. His music belongs squarely in the tradition of the late Romantic "second tier"--composers like Bax, Elgar, Bantock, Zemlinsky, Pfitzner, Magnard, Chadwick, Dreiseke, Melartin, and that sort. It's not music that "matters" historically, but it's colorful, well written, enjoyable, sometimes masterful, and we're better off for having it available.

The Second Symphony (1903) suffers slightly from that Romantic curse, the "finale problem". The ruggedly "symphonic" first movement impressively sustains its 14-minute length, developing memorable thematic material with energy and apt musical logic. The witty scherzo sports some charming faux folk-tunes and gains immeasurably in sparkle and freshness thanks to highly imaginative percussion scoring, including prominent castanets. Dopper's remarkably ethereal (and never tacky) writing for harp and strings at the beginning of the enchanting slow movement offers further eloquent proof of his sensitivity to subtle instrumental colors.

The finale, although certainly not poor, returns to the more "symphonic" style of the first movement, and while the cymbals and brass do weigh in at the end for an impressive peroration, the greater instrumental brilliance of the two central movements casts a shadow over this last one that it never quite shrugs off. Still, if you take a shine to works such as Elgar's First Symphony, which has similar strengths and weaknesses, you'll like this piece very much. Dopper wrote seven symphonies in all, and I'd be very curious to know how the others sound, and in particular if he eventually solved the "finale problem" in his later efforts.

The two works entitled Päan I and II (the title means "paean") sound almost exactly like Bax in Celtic march mode, though the scoring has more transparency. Dopper's comparative harmonic astringency in these later pieces proves that his style did indeed develop, and only whets the appetite for more. Matthias Bamert directs his Dutch forces with confidence, and they play beautifully, as if they've known this music for years. Fine sound, too. Now why can't some enterprising Dutch label pick up where Chandos is leading and explore this rewarding musical heritage in greater depth?
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 2 by Cornelis Dopper
Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
Paan I in F minor by Cornelis Dopper
Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Netherlands (Holland 
Paan II in D minor by Cornelis Dopper
Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Netherlands (Holland 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 2 in B minor: I. Andante, molto moderato - Allegro con brio
Symphony No. 2 in B minor: II. Allegro vivace, a la burla
Symphony No. 2 in B minor: III. Adagio sostenuto
Symphony No. 2 in B minor: IV. Rondo: Allegro molto, energico
Paan No. 1: Paan I
Paan No. 2: Paan II

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